Jodie was part of the initial invasion of Iraq. Many people might believe because she was a woman that prevented her from being part of the initial assault. But she was there playing a pivotal role in the war. Listen to her story this week on the Women of the Military Podcast!
Jodie held various roles including Force Protection and Security Supervisor in Al Kut, Iraq, and Security Analyst for Department of State in Kabul, Afghanistan. In her last role before making a full transition to the nonprofit sector, she was an Intelligence Advisor for the Marine Corps Battle Simulation Center in Camp Pendleton, CA. There she provided unit commanders, Marines, and sailors intelligence collection training in preparation for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Joining the Marine Corps
Jodie decided to join the Marine Corps in her junior year of high school. She knew she wanted to join the military and wanted to go the toughest route. She chose intel because she thought she would be something like a 007. Her job was different than she expected and at first. It was a lot of exercises and planning. Then September 11th happened and everything changed.
Before the Initial Invasion of Iraq
She said that her job became more real and there was a lot more training and preparation. In February of 2003, she was in Kuwait preparing to go into Iraq. Before the initial invasion, her team was instructed to write a letter home that would be sent back to the states with all of her things if she died. This put the reality of war and the cost of war into the forefront of her mind and she used that experience to push herself through. The initial invasion had her out on the front lines doing her job and being equal with the male Marines beside her.
The Changing War
By the summer they were being redeployed back home but returned to Iraq in February of the following year. The war had completely changed. The Iraqi people who had once been welcoming had now become the enemy. It went from conventional war to an unconventional war and she found limitations in doing her job. She would arrive at bases to gather more intel and would be told women were not allowed. This was a struggle and she felt discrimination and couldn’t fully do her job. She wanted to transfer to counterintelligence, but this career field wasn’t open to women. So, she decided to leave the military.
From Marine to Waitress
There were no transition programs like there are today and she found herself back in her hometown working as a waitress. She took a trip to California to reconnect with friends from the Marines and while she was there started looking at classified ads to work there. One of her former Marines offered to take her resume and was able to secure her a job. She had a successful career in the intel field, but was ready for the next phase. And then started working for a non-profit. She found serving others especially veterans to be fulfilling and works currently works for The Foundation for Women Warriors in Southern California.
Foundation for Women Warriors
Today, Jodie is the Chief Executive Officer of Foundation for Women Warriors, a 100-year-old nonprofit organization that works with women veterans to utilize their strength, resilience, and achievements to overcome obstacles as they transition to civilian life. Jodie accepted her current position as CEO of the Foundation for Women Warriors in 2016. And has since used her experience and expertise, not only to expand and revitalize FFWW’s programs maximizing impact. This has led a nationwide campaign inspiring the country to reconsider gender roles, veteran stereotypes, and the capabilities of women. Foundation for Women Warriors, under Jodie’s leadership, has transformed into California’s preeminent women veterans service agency. Committed to empowering the resilience and professional development of women veterans.
Military and Civilian Success
In addition to Jodie’s military commendations, she is a 2020 Presidential Leadership Scholar. The recipient of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2019 Woman of Influence award. In 2018, she was awarded the San Diego Business Journal’s Business Women of the Year Award. And in 2017, she was named one of the world’s 130 Women of Impact by Impact Mania. Jodie currently serves on the SoCalGas Community Advisory Council, California Women Veterans Leadership Council, is a member of the Carlsbad Women’s Club, Veteran of Foreign Wars, Women Marine’s Association, 100 Women Who Care Orange County, and Women Give San Diego. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. She currently resides in Carlsbad, California.
Connect with Jodie:
Foundation for Women Warriors:
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